Monday, August 31, 2015

Unbecoming, not freedom

Big Brother is not watching you.

The chaos you see all around you as some masterplan is not some kind of uber society manipulating you, watching you all the time, plotting against you. Except that now a days Big Brother actually is watching you and that has really confused things for many people. Because they now think that their paranoia is justified. When in reality, it's just paranoia and the masterplan you see going on all around you, those patterns you try to apply to the chaos, is just that. Chaos. Incompetency, mostly. People trying to live up to the complexity of the chaos all around them.

They try to excel in their little piece of the pie so that they feel they have some kind of control over their life no matter how small or inconsequential.

Only inn reality they have no control at all. Just the appearance of control so that they can continue on to the next day. To take that next step. To complete the next step of the plan that no one understands and everyone is working on.

If you die it will continue. If you don't die, you will continue to supplement the beast, to feed it, to sustain it, caress it, make love to it, nurture it, give birth to it.

You can try to escape it, some do. Some think they do anyway. But you can't. Not really. This is it. This is all there is. So make the best of that tiny piece of the process that you can alter your life to in order to make it seem like you have finally escaped it, that you have finally achieved your goal of falling into that warm pool of freedom.

There is only one way to become immersed in it though, to swim through it to the other side. That is to leave it, completely, finally, forever. Then and only then, it is done, are you done. But that isn't freedom, it only seems like it. Because in reality it is merely your unbecoming.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dating Sites and no not Ashley Madison

I got bored the other day, so I hopped on a dating site. See I live in an area here in the woods, twenty-two miles across Bainbridge Island and Puget Sound as the crow flies from Seattle. I seem to run into more potential dates in Seattle than I ever do in my area here in Kitsap County. Or they are clear across the country or the world from me. 

I've been saying that I'm sure there is someone for anybody, somewhere. I just figure that my potential "soulmate" (a kind of ridiculous romantic notion) is probably in the back alleyways of Mumbai, or Tokyo, Rio, or Belfast (or for that matter Dublin, Galway, Cork, or Limerick...see I'm going there in less than a week for my birthday, so....).

I've been single now since 2010 when my girlfriend and I split up after about a year and a half. She was a great lady but she kept breaking up with me. So on about the fourth time I said I thought maybe I wasn't what she was looking for. 

She was a very lovely Vietnamese businesswoman and I think she had trouble with my being white, mostly because of her family and not really her. I also wanted to pay as much time on my writing as possible and as my kids were just about grown and moved out of the house and onto their adult lives, I needed to have someone going to keep me from empty nest syndrome. Plus, I've made great strides in my writing career now too!

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. 

I'm on a few dating sites just for fun, but I don't much go on them. Not sure why I'm even there, really. I think it's like when I'm shopping for sweets at the store. I am losing weight, so I don't want to eat sweets. I just look, and move on. Window shopping if you will, so I don't buy in the end. 

And no, not Ashley Madison. 

I find a dating site dedicated to people cheating on their supposed best friend in life, utterly despicable. I don't understand the concept of cheating. IF you love someone, if someone is your best friend in the world and you marry they, how can you possibly kill their spirit by going out on them when they don't know it? 

Now I'm pretty open minded and I feel whatever agreement two people have as to what their relationships is, is between that couple (or threesome, or whatever they have agreed upon). But when you agree to be with only them and they don't know you are running around on them, well, you're a low life, aren't you?

I've been trying to change careers and if anything will suck up your time keeping you from attaining a goal... yeah, it's relationships.

So I get on this one site and run into a woman here or there who strikes my interest. I look past the surface info and photos and inevitably find a reason why it wouldn't be workable. Fine.

It's in the not workable part that I found something interesting. What exactly is it that makes them, unworkable?

Number one I think is, I just see the crazy in their eyes, in the look. After several marriages and various girlfriends over the years, the crazy has just gotten to be too easy to located.

Number two is either their location or religion or both. 

They seem to be equal in number of instances. Funny how I can see a photo and know instantly they are Catholic (having been raised Catholic) and I'm almost always right. 

Location has to be reasonable and religion definitely has to be reasonable.

What's reasonable for location? VERY local. I don't want to spend two hours getting there to see them (or vice versa) and the location around here is shall we say, interesting? It's really nice around here actually... unless you're into dating. 

Anyway, same goes with religious orientation. If there even IS one indicated. Yeah, I'm not big into religion, maybe you've noticed that. I'm not exactly secretive about it. Because then it feels like it's more than two hours from here for me. Here, right up here in my head, see? Get it? It's then more like it's light years from where they are then.

So then there is a number 3. 

Which I suppose is... what they say in their profile. Not to mention their photos. It is so annoying when someone posts photos of their flowers, or their pet (espeically if their pets are their children, I mean, really? If there's not enough listed about them, then they are holding back something, right? But if it's too much, then they are either giving up too much (and why?), or they are just too opinionated and either have issues like in having too many rules, or maybe they're simply too high maintenance. Many very attractive women have that issue in having been treated so well by so many throughout their lives. It's not so much a statement about them as it is about what you might have to deal with in being in a relationship with them. And I have no doubt that it's just like that if you're a woman looking for a guy.

But it got me to thinking.

If there's NO one out there then who is reasonable for me to take a crack at, then what's the common denominator in my not finding anyone who works for  me? 

Well. Me, obviously. 

Good grief, what a loser. Right? What a jerk! A cretin!

In considering all that I do realize something. Actually I realized this a long ago but it doesn't help me much in writing it out here now, does it? I'm quite sure I must be coming across the same, to some anyway of them anyway. 

So what's that mean? It's just not really workable I suppose.

I've actually always done much better in person. 

To consider putting your life on paper and then try to look good, is problematic to begin with. Rather when you see someone who catches your eye from across the room, then it's far easier to discount them and move on and not even realize it. Or to find that spark that suddenly flames up into something curious and interesting and well, there you are. All the work getting started is done without even thinking about it. 

And if they say too much or too little (well that comes when you start talking I suppose), other things can dilute the negatives, be it a smile, a laugh, a movement, a glance. Some of us are far better in flirting in person I suppose. Some of the "magic" in who we are is in us interacting. One has to wonder in viewing profiles online and rejecting them, just how many would you have gone for, if you had met them in first, in person?

What was my point in bringing this all up?

Romance I think. Interpersonalities. How we boil ourselves down to a profile and miss some of the great things in life in not having allowed things to grow and mature organically and within physical proximity. Don't get me wrong. 

I met my first online girlfriend back in the early 90s online (obviously) on a BBS, this being pre-interwebs and all. I was thirty six and she was twenty. She found me. She had heard of my reputation on that site and became attracted to me.

Seems she heard about a transexual flirting with me who I thought had been born female. Hey, just my preference. There is so much baggage for me in dealing in relationships, I really don't need any more than the usual that I'm familiar with. So shoot me. Once she outed herself to me online (we never did meet), I was a little stunned. I had started to realize someone was wrong when our sexualty as we discussed, seemed to match up too well. As if she were a guy. A Tomboy? Maybe. But I started getting an odd feeling. So one day online I asked some probing questions and she fessed up.

I tried to explain to her that she really needs to make that clear up front, not later on. I had recently just gone through this kind of thing with someone else on that site. A woman who said she was a model. She told me about her traveling Europe with another model friend. We got as far as phone calls. 

Then she fessed up about having been raped in Europe on that trip, then gaining a lot of weight. I felt betrayed at that point and the betrayal outweighed her physical changes from what she had described. I had a degree in psychology and I was seeing some serious issues here she needed to deal with, before she dated like this. 

I explained to her it was better to be up front with people, and not deceive them as how can that work out to her benefit? I'd also been through my last two major relationships which both ended in deceit. My long time girlfriend through college had an affair, then ran off and my just recently ex wife, had an affair and I threw her out. I was a little partial to not being lied to by that point in my life. Especially considering I had never had a woman break up with me until I was in my 30s.

Getting back to the transsexual, I was actually worried about her meeting some guy who then finds out he situation and he hurts her. I treated her like a person, I showed concern and I was concerned. Well she told everyone on the dating site and I so I somehow got a bit reputation for being cool, I suppose. 

Which led to a relationship with a very attractive, very bright twenty year old computer tech (who looked a lot like Mackenzie Davis' character Cameron Howe, on the excellent show, Halt and Catch Fire. Even down to the short blond hair and who even my housemate liked back then and she was pretty harsh on whomever I dated. She said of all the girls I had dated while living with her, she liked that one the best. High praise indeed. 

Halt and Catch Fire, which I just heard was being cancelled as I write this but hopefully uncancelled by time this blog is published in a couple of weeks as I'm in Ireland at the time this blog goes live. 

That Vietnamese lady I mentioned in the beginning? 

I also met her online back in 2010. She actually (again actually) initially contacted me. This was on a dating website (BBSs having gone the way of the dinosaur by now I suppose though it wouldn't surprise me to find there are still some around).

We met up, hit it off and had a great eighteen month relationship. Until I got tired of being broken up with. Well I understand. She'd had a tough life in some ways, certainly, romantically speaking.

Even though I've had some very good success stories in online dating I still prefer meeting someone in person for the first time. there's just something more as I said, organic about it. I feel like the tentacles of personality have a better field to invest in, to be enriched in. Surely it can work online and then you meet.

Look, that concept of finding someone similar online with similar interests and orientations in life, is all reasonable and everything, but some of my most intense relationships were when we were very different and people would even remark on it:

"How did you two ever get together. You're so very different?"

Love, we supposed. We very much loved each other and the differences just didn't matte.

Not right away anyhow, but after about five years or so (mostly because of raising kids really) those differences did seem to matter after all. Quite a lot actually. Of course those relationships didn't last forever. But it was really Something, let me tell you!

Anyway, like I said. Dating sites. I was bored one day....

Still am. 

Well, moving on.... I have writing to do and an upcoming trip out of country to get ready for.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Don't Wear the Holy Blinders.

This has bugged me for a long time, most of my life really.

So many people who are religious want to wear "Holy Blinders" to allow them and the Devout never to see what all God has created for them NOT to see... apparently.
The Holy Blinders?
Much of fundamentalist theism seems to be like this. Surely the Islamic terrorists are like this, but also many Christians are like this, especially in the American wingnut Evangelical movement.

I've never understood it.

We have a form of thinking here where you have to worship a Being, divine or not and apparently regardless what is asked of you by this Being, this Divine Despot, this Galactic Dictator, it's all okay because after all, you were created by this Being. So anything, any abuse goes. He says kill your kid, bang, kid's dead. Right?

You are given rules to follow, to think a certain way but not another way; and to think more of this Being than anyone or anything else...apparently.

What I never got is that these people have found a way to cheat, on pain of death, what their divinely dictated path is. Rather than learn to be a certain way, rather than to build the spiritual muscle to be that certain way, rather than to suffer, toil and trouble over making their path what they believe it is and then tread upon it, they simply completely avoid being that certain way by using tricks, avoiding any need to use their free will.

How to succeed at using free will correctly? Don't use it at all of course. Eliminate the choice and bang, you're one day in Heaven. God must be so proud.

I don't think so.

In Islam they make women wear clothes to hide their features so men don't have impure thoughts. Rather than learning not to have those thoughts or learn to stop them once they crop up. Because apparently they found it too difficult. So they decided it's better to put upon women then to put upon themselves, or force themselves to have some inner discipline, to treat others accordingly and not abuse anyone outside of themselves for their own lack of strength as a human being.

Lazy? Simply that scared so as to have become irrational? Cowardly? Or what?

They will sometimes even kill people for not following the rules at times. Sometimes even over some very silly rules.

Rather than allowing them to be dealt with by that divine Being after death, they take the matter into their own obviously unclean hands. They can't even avoid thinking about sex without covering women up, So they are the dealers of death in "God's" name? Really? Sounds more to me like ignorant, poor self esteem punks in a street gang.

And don't tell me when all they can see is just a woman's eyes, that they don't spring to attention in seeing those deep lovelies looking at them from the deep mystery of that all encompassing cloth. As with the ancient Japanese. In covering women completely up in kimonos, the back of the woman's neck became a very erogenous zone for men.

It makes no sense.

A therapist I knew years ago once told that me her son (they were Japanese Buddhists), wanted to live in a monastery in order to live correctly. But she told him, and this is important, that it doesn't mean as much. It's not as useful as it is to learn to be how you'd want become while in a monastery while living in the real world. 

It is more important to live your life in the real world, dealing with real things in how a normal person has to deal with them on a daily basis. That is the true way to live. Yes we need those in monasteries as it serves a purpose for the rest of us as a kind of touch point. But most people need to live in the real world and deal with their beliefs as normal human beings.

Christianity is much the same in disallowing all humans from things like sex, contraception and because at times that fails, abortions. Rather than allow them each to use the free will God supposedly had based the trials of humanity on in the first place. Rather than allow these humans to make their own decisions, should others really be making those decisions for them? Isn't that cheating, not allowing those decisions to be made in the first pace by the individuals involved?

It's weird. It's dishonest. It's twisted. It's ugly. And many times... it's evil.
What kind of religious runt, what kind of weak, lame, wimpy people act like that in the face of a Supreme Being as if this Being won't figure out what they are doing? How they are subverting the challenges originally and allegedly given them? How they have twisted the Divine Message? How do they get away with it? Do they? Will they? 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Live it Outloud 2015 Summer Finale Concert

For several years in a row I went to the Ted Brown Live It Outloud finale concert at Tacoma's Rialto Theater. What fun this show always is. It's worth the $15 for a ticket.

This year the time zipped by and the end was upon me before I even realized it. Sure, some bands are better than others, but it gives you a feeling for two things to be sure.

One is that playing in a band is easier than you might think. How else did all those garage bands ever get anywhere. These are after all kids, young teenagers doing this and yet they sound incredible. Of course that is due in part to their mentors in the program. Not all are perfection to be sure, but they are doing it, they are experiencing and learning to be on stage, and acquiring so much in being in this program. They are getting a feel for it and getting up there and doing it.

All of which is saying much more than it sounds.

The other thing is, this is also much harder than it seems. They are kids yes, but they are like any musician anywhere, putting blood, sweat and tears I'm sure, into these performances. And it shows.

I can't stop thinking while they are playing how much I would loved to have done that as a kid, but how terrifying it must also be.

There are a few things however, that I might change or add, to the finale show. They have other shows like at Jazz Bones in lead up to the finale but sadly I've not made those shows... yet.

Many programs I've seen on this order in the past have shown a professional band at the opening and for several reasons. To placate the attendees to see a professional band as well as talented amateurs. Basically, to draw in an audience. But this program has a built in audience, parents and family and friends.

It would be nice to showcase to the kids what a band to shoot for looks and sounds like. To have a pro band might be a bit much and after all, we've all seen or heard professional bands. We should want to get  the kids involved, to support the program and not just have to watch a paid band show up, play and disappear. So, I would make a few suggestions.

Let's see some past alums show up and play to open the show.

Especially any success stories. Why do this? It gives the kids hope and an example of where their hard work could lead. Some might argue disingenuously, that it might make the other kids feel bad because they don't sound like them... yet.

But how does showing off what the program has succeeded to do, come off in anyway as bad? Besides, any kids feeling bad about something like that really shouldn't even be in the program in the first place. The entertainment industry is a brutal environment. You'd best be ready for it if you're headed in that direction.

So why don't we see at each season finale one of the previous bands or talent who have gone on to better things beyond the program?

I would admonish the program's directors and Ted Brown Music to let us see some past graduates and where they are now. I know they aren't hiding something. Their graduates have gone on to bigger and better things. I can only assume this lack of showcasing those successes is out of some kind of misguided concern?

Open the show with a graduate, with a success story! Show off! Perhaps alum of the program Cat Dewell could have opened the show (see Tacoma Music Camp site). Give the kids an opening example of where they can go with this program. Give the audience a show and let these past students show off to their mentors and the program.

This isn't the time to be humble. This is ROCK & ROLL! Bigger than life! Be Loud. This is after all, LIVE IT OUTLOUD! Right?

You could even have some of the top participants play in the opening band with the returning alum but of course, that would be up to the artist. Or perhaps they could play a final song like that. These are just some suggestions to enhance an already great program. Give the kids the motivation in rewarding the best to be better and the not so best yet, to achieve more as the possibilities are there.

I would also consider choosing the top three bands again for best bands. It's subjective right? So you don't have to choose a winner and two runner ups, just the top three.


Because if you don't you are setting them up for a real shock when they get into the real entertainment industry, one of the most brutal careers there are. There will always be I would assume, some kids who just won't make it. Now is the time to work that out before the entertainment industry chews them up and spits them out. Also "losing" is setting up those individuals in those bands for two things.

Those who can't handle it can save time and move on to something else in their lives that they can handle (this isn't about recidivism or capitalism as a company in having a program with repeat business (though that is surely a desire) but it's about turning out kids with professional orientations).

Those who can handle it and don't get selected can face reality and buckle down to work even harder for next year and come back a winner.

There are other programs like this around the country who are watching what the Live It Outloud's program is doing and they are using what they find useful. So as a leader in this field, why not push the envelope? Why not stay on top? Why not, lead?

All that being said this is an incredible program and if your child (or you, if you are a teen) think that this might be cool to do but it's too scary to consider, go talk to them at the program. Give it a shot! The worst you can do is fall on your face. The best is what I saw at the finale and the program works hard to set the kids up for success. It's really about what the kids can and want to achieve. About nurturing their potential to go as far as they want to go.

For myself I am far too old to be in the program and now, even my grown kids are now who are in their 20s. I look forward to next year's bright new students and bands so full with energy and potential, with many more to come after.

Live It Outloud!

Monday, August 3, 2015

If you love Art, Music, or whatever then cut loose, cuz... Dave Grohl told us to

I was watching Dave Grohl being interviewed by Sam Jones (Off Camera with Sam Jones). I love that interview show. I highly recommend it if you love art, music, writing, acting. The Robert Downey, Jr. interview was also very good.
Sam Jones' Off Camera with Dave Grohl
I liked Dave Grohl's attitude and things he had to say, I guess in being a purest about things. For instance, screw the computers "enhancing" your music. Just, do it.

It made me wish I had been a musician. I actually had wanted to and well, it just never worked out. I seemed to have a talent for writing and so, I'm a writer. 

One of the last things Dave said in the interview was to just do it.

The Who's Keith Moon
As he put it and to paraphrase, "When Keith Moon was playing, beating on his drums, do you think he had mapped that all out? He was just banging the hell out of those drums. When I first started out, I was working at a furniture store and I wanted people to hear me play. I would just beat the hell out of those drums and when I walked out, people would think, wow, he really played the hell out of those drums." (remember that wasn't a direct quote, but you get the gist of it)

That got me to thinking. First about how easy it is for musicians in a way. You play something, those you want to hear it, hear it, even those you don't know are there, or in a different room hear it. If it's good they will be drawn to it. Gee, how nice, how easy. Whether or not they even want to hear it they could inadvertently end up liking it. Same with visual arts, you just show it in a single glance and viola, they like it or not, but they've seen it, experienced it. Try that with a poem, a short story, a novel. Yeah, good luck. Even videos are easier.

Getting people to read your writings is real a bitch. Trust me. Then if they do they usually don't know what to say in response (unlike with a song, oh, "that's good!", or "oh, that sucks!"). It's very, frustrating.

I started playing guitar in second grade. You play a song and if you played well, one could just tell, people liked it. Even if they weren't listening, or wanting to, they really had no choice. Sound, happens. Try that with a short story. 

It's can be kind of a miserable life, being a writer. Until you can get someone to read it, and start paying attention, until you get a following. Then it becomes easier of course, but then the other difficulties pop up.

No, this really isn't supposed to be a bitch session. I just wanted to get to a point where I could say what I wanted to say. And that was this....

What Dave said to just play the hell out of it! Not to overthink it, not to artificially manipulate a way that is what we do with writing. We write it, someone reads it, maybe an editor because if you want your stuff read, pay an editor or reader and it gets read.

I started to think about this. Writing isn't music. So how can I turn what Dave said toward my writing?

Because I still have a full time day job in order to pay the bills I have to schedule my writing times for when I have the time, energy, creative force. To do what Dave said, I'd have to have a lot of time.

I've played music and I've written pieces and between writing music and prose (or worse, screenplays as I also write those), music is much easier. You pick up your instrument and start playing and it comes to life. It doesn't work that way for writing. Not for me anyway. Writing is far more time consuming. Of course writing a song, starting and finishing it is much in the same but still again, during the process you can just say to someone, "listen to this", strum a bit and they experience it. How many times have we heard someone say or do that to us when we didn't really want to hear it and yet they played, we ended up hearing it and then we commented on it, good or bad?

But if I had the time... that is to say no day job, I could just write straight through, just bang the hell out of the keyboard till I'm finished. Like Dave does, or Keith Moon did. What could I turn out then? What would I discover along that way?

It got me to thinking. I thought about Hunter S. Thompson. I thought about Burroughs. Was I thinking about stream of consciousness Henry James? What? I don't know. But that was the thing, wasn't it? I didn't know? And I wanted to know. But I'd need time to decompress from this corporate life. 

I've discovered over the years of taking vacations that I need about a week, maybe two before I started to feel "Human" again. However, usually my vacations are only days, or a week or two. Sometimes I would just start to feel normal again (I think because normal is hard to recognize after a while not feeling it), it happens about the time the vacation is over.

Maybe that's why Europeans take a month off? 

I need then to what? Retire? Awesome! But my point is I would need time, a lot of it to decompress, then to start the process. Which is basically writing when it hits me and then beating the hell out of a story. What would that be like? Heaven, I'm sure.

Don't get me wrong. Writing is doing it, doing a lot of it. But when you have another entire full time job, that is when all this is relevant.

As it is now if I get an idea after bedtime, I get up out of bed to write it down. I write bits and pieces so I can later finish them, or use them somewhere I might not have foreseen at the time I dreamed it up. Which is the best sometimes. Last night I got up four times. I was exhausted, my brain was racing, and these were seriously good ideas. So I did it. But I slept in today. On a normal work night, I would have woken too tired to function properly at work all the next day. 

I guess you could argue, using Dave's reference, I could just sit and type furiously like a drum solo and see what comes up. But I do that now. I'm just looking for something else. Something beyond. Something I haven't and can't now do.

What is the point of all this? 

That I have a new concept to shoot for. That you could have a new concept to shoot for. For that thing out there on the horizon.

Maybe it would even lead to a different way of  viewing my writings. It's all good. Every little epiphany sparks something, moves something, evokes change, keeps things fresh. Offering hope of the beyond until finally you bring yourself to the beyond and that becomes the foundation for something new. A new you. A newness to what you produce. A new experience for those who experience what you produce on that new plane of existence.

Should be interesting....